Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area
Common ducks include mallards, northern pintails, widgeons, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwalls, scaup, northern shovelers, and ring-necked ducks. Wood ducks and Canada geese nest in the area. Greater white-fronted geese and snow geese also stop. Including waterfowl, over 300 species of birds make this area popular with birders. Herons, egrets, eagles, shorebirds, hawks, and songbirds are plentiful.
Visitors should pick up a map at the headquarters located on U.S. 69 about 1 mile north of Trading Post. The lake in Unit B, just west of the headquarters, is a great location to see large flocks of Canada geese and ducks as well as wintering bald eagles. From the headquarters, proceed south past Trading Post and cross the Marais des Cygnes River. Just south of the river, follow the gravel road west into the wildlife area as it passes next to the lake in Unit A. This is the largest pool in the area and is excellent for viewing great blue herons, white pelicans, and double-crested cormorants. In about 3 miles you will reach the small town of Boicourt. Prior to crossing the railroad tracks, turn north and follow the road as it parallels the river. During spring migration the steep woodlands are home to a variety of birds, including vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, and, sometimes, pileated woodpeckers. Over 30 species of warblers have been found here. A mile north of Boicourt lies Unit G of the wildlife area. The many stumps and trees protruding from the water's surface create ideal habitat for wood ducks, prothonotary warblers, migrating ospreys, and nesting tree swallows.
In addition to the wetland, there are many areas with woodlands and open fields. Alert visitors may spot deer, gray foxes, turkeys, rabbits, and squirrels. Southern flying squirrels are also found here but are seldom seen. In late October and early November the fall colors of the trees on the hillsides are spectacular. For the reptile lover, there are many kinds of water turtles and snakes active in the warmer seasons.
The Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge adjoins the Wildlife Area. It lies primarily on the east side of U.S. 69 Highway.
camping in the Wildlife Area only.
No developed trails, but the levee access roads provide hiking opportunities.
Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area and the Marais des Cygnes
National Wildlife Refuge are located along U.S. 69, 5 miles north of Pleasanton. The
headquarters building for the Wildlife Area is about 1 mile north of the small town of Trading Post.
The refuge office is one mile east of the intersection of U.S. 69 and K-52 on
the south side of the road.
The entity responsible for management of Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area
is the Kansas
Department of Wildlife, Parks &
Tourism. Contact KDWP at
(913) 352-8941 if you have
specific questions about use or management of the wildlife area.
The entity responsible for management of the Marais des
Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Contact
them at (913) 352-8956 if you have specific questions about the use or
management of the refuge.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason